Good news: NBC has agreed to investigate an NBC employee about reportorial misdeeds at NBC. This is how the news media works today, folks.
A bombshell report from the New York Daily News claims that Brian Williams’ claims about Katrina and his oft-repeated story of being shot down in a helicopter over Iraq in 2003, are now the subject of an internal NBC investigation. Richard Esposito who leads the NBC News investigative unit will lead the probe.
“NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams is now the target of an internal investigation for lying about dodging danger while reporting in Iraq, sources told The Daily News.
The probe is being led by Richard Esposito, who heads NBC’s investigative unit, they said.
Esposito previously worked as an investigative correspondent at ABC and before that was an editor at The Daily News.
The revelation that Williams is being probed by sleuths at his own network came as his predecessor publicly denied urging NBC bosses to can the anchorman.
From his NBC Nightly News anchor chair, Williams apologized Wednesday night for lying (on the air) the previous week about a chopper he was traveling in being shot down by an enemy RPG over Iraq in 2003. That apology only landed Williams in deeper water due to a misleading reference about his chopper “following” the chopper that was hit (it was not) and making it sound as though he had only told the lie once.
The truth is that he has told this lie numerous time for over a decade.
Since the Iraq revelation, Williams’ highly dramatic claims about dealing with gangs, dead bodies, and dysentery during Hurricane Katrina have raised eyebrows and questions throughout the mainstream media.
NBC News has been in silent bunker mode for the last three days. Announcing this probe into Williams’ claims might be a tactic to buy some breathing space, to silence the criticism until the internal investigation is completed.
In the world of New Media, this is unlikely to work. Williams’ claims are already being crowd-sourced. My guess is that countless individuals are right now looking into all of Williams’ reporting. More could be coming next week.
Added: Numerous outlets, including the AP, have now confirmed the investigation.
John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC